Stocks fall over 1% after Fed meeting suggests hawkish stance
Stocks fell more than 1 percent on Thursday as minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's March meeting suggested a stronger-than-expected hawkish stance on rate hikes. The won fell against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi lost 39.17 points, or 1.43 percent, to close at 2,695.86 points.
Trading volume was moderate at around 1.21 billion shares worth some 9.8 trillion won ($8 billion), with losers far outnumbering gainers 703 to 189.
Foreigners and institutions sold 772.7 billion won and 521.0 billion won, respectively, while retail investors alone picked up shares worth 1.3 trillion won.
The market opened lower, tracking overnight losses on Wall Street, after the Federal Reserve's minutes of its latest meeting showed that officials are considering raising rates by a half percentage point, rather than the usual quarter point, and they "generally" agreed on a massive balance sheet reduction as soon as next month.
"The local stock market moved in line with major markets due to the Fed's monetary tightening," Kiwoom Securities analyst Han Ji-young said, adding that overnight losses of major technology shares on Wall Street pressured blue chips here.
Uncertainties surrounding the Ukraine crisis continued, as the European Union on Tuesday discussed additional sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
Most large-cap shares finished lower in Seoul, with tech and financial stocks leading the overall market falls due to profit-taking.
Samsung Electronics fell 0.73 percent to 68,000 won despite its earnings guidance that showed its best first-quarter earnings in four years on the back of solid chip and mobile demand.
Battery maker LG Energy Solution lost 1.8 percent to 436,500 won, and Samsung SDI decreased 2.51 percent to 583,000 won. LG Chem went down 2.26 percent to 518,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,219.5 won against the dollar, up 1.2 won from the previous session's close.
The Kosdaq dropped 15.18 points, or 1.61 percent, to close at 927.95 points.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year government bonds declined 3.3 basis points to 2.908 percent, and the yield on the benchmark 10-year government bond advanced 4.4 basis points to 2.59 percent.
BY SHIN HA-NEE, YONHAP [email@example.com]